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the assignment and the strategic roadmap indicating how you will execute. Please note, do not mention the activities at this point, you are yet to put pen to paper contractually. including, political interference, so to nil. Ensure a percentage commitment is mention this early enough. Identifying and paid up before you kick off. mentioning potential challenges proves to the client that you are experienced in your Contract craft, – a big win! Finally, put down your reporting schedule as well as a clear costing plan. In certain cases especially when dealing with SME’s, the proposal could be used as the contractual document, so it could be prudent to provide a point for signatures. Established organizations have their own template for contracts. Costing Negotiating Table When invited to negotiate with the client, make them understand your delivery style. Use the opportunity to elaborate further, the unexpected tides of change that could affect execution and give suggestions of your nautical skills to sail past them. A myriad of issues in your operating environment could affect your delivery Costing the assignment is key and it needs careful thought to it. Ensuring that your time and any costs that will be incurred in the execution are taken care off. This is an area in negotiations that as a consultant you need to tactfully bring out your A - game. It is ideal to break down your costs per milestone, as opposed to presenting an overall figure which your client will always negotiate downwards. You can negotiate further to have a certain percentage paid upon completion of each milestone. Note that, in most cases when no commitment is placed on the table, high chances payment upon completion of the assignment is next Most consultants overlook carefully reading through the fine print. Read through and ensure it works to your favor and that your proposition on the payment schedule is included. Most of the big establishments have their own templates for contracts. If you identify any sticky issues, pass by your legal advisors to review before you sign. Execution Once you have the notch on your belt and are ready to kick off the project, prepare a work plan which should be agreeable with your client. Most importantly stick to it. A Big Don’t As William A Cohen, an established consultant and author of ‘how to make it big as a consultant,’ rightly puts it, never tell anyone how you outsmarted anyone else in negotiations. Boasting can come back to haunt you! As William further explains, ‘Donald Trump is said to have sold Merv Griffin a Casino for hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump even went on live TV saying out loud how he had taken Griffin to the cleaners. Not too long afterwards, Trump went bankrupt. Did one event have anything to do with the other? We can bet that if Merv Griffin had an opportunity to return the favor and renegotiate the deal through his influence in another situation, you could have bet he would have done so. No one wants to feel taken advantage of, certainly not publicly.’ The effort and preparation you put in preparing for a pitch, should in equal measure be put in running through the follow-ups and eventually the assignment. Any communications consultant worth their salt ought to be a great negotiator. Janet is a Communications Consultant and Lead Brand Strategist at LCC Africa, a boutique PR firm that offers 360 degrees Communications Services. You can commune with her via mail on Janet@lccafrica.com